Say No to Issue 3: Letter to the Editor of Ohio Newspapers

October 20, 2009

The League of Women Voters of Ohio strongly opposes Issue 3, the proposed constitutional amendment to authorize casinos in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. We believe the Constitution should be a clearly stated body of fundamental principles and should provide for the flexible operation of government. Issue 3 does not meet these criteria.

For example, if the proposed constitutional amendment passes:
- Issue 3 identifies the specific parcels of private property where the casinos are to be built. We believe the Constitution should not include post-it notes that benefit private landowners. That specificity does not belong in the Constitution.

- Issue 3 specifies exactly where the tax and licensure revenues will go. The Ohio legislature will not have authority to re-allocate revenue where it may be most needed…unless another constitutional amendment is passed.

- Issue 3 specifies that the casinos have the right to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—and to have up to 5,000 slot machines each. If the community where a casino is located finds this excessive, there is no way to change it…unless another constitutional amendment is passed.

- Issue 3 specifies that Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will determine what additional types of slot machines, electronic gambling and table-game wagering will be permissible in Ohio—Ohio voters and the legislature will not have a say. That is because Issue 3 will allow Ohio casinos to automatically have any of the above that are authorized by those four states as of January 1, 2009 -- and additionally, as subsequently authorized by any of the four states. The proposed amendment goes on to specify that even if one or more of these states impose limitations in the future, the limitations would not apply to Ohio casinos. This could not be changed…unless another constitutional amendment is passed.

The specificity in Issue 3 does not belong in the Ohio Constitution. These are not fundamental principles, and Issue 3 restricts the flexible operation of state government to meet Ohioans’ needs.
The League of Women Voters of Ohio urges voters to become educated about Issue 3 (visit www.lwvohio.org) and join us in opposing it.

Meg G. Flack
President
League of Women Voters of Ohio
17 South High Street, Suite 650
Columbus, Ohio 43215
614-469-1505

The League of Women Voters of Ohio, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy.